I died 45 years ago

In about an hour's time I turn 65 years old (May 29th).  Hard to believe.  But I'm relatively OK with getting old... I guess.  In part perhaps because I died 45 years ago.  I was mantled with some kind of mysterious psychic death and rebirth, which I've been trying to come to terms with ever since (in my life, my writing).  Uncanny, unheimlich.  Personal un-hinge, you could say.

Ever since (O youth!), at least some fraction of me has been on a spiritual mission - really a stumbling, on-&-off effort to express & explain what happened (as far as I can see).

When you have died 45 years before you turn 65, there are psychological ramifications.  When I was 4 years old I was hospitalized in an iron lung for about a month, with a severe case of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (French polio).  I was immobilized up to my neck.  As a result, I've put a premium on breathing, and also perhaps endured a subliminal sense of paralysis.  & maybe something of this early childhood experience carried over into the later crisis and its aftermath.

I've been a poet for all of those 45 years (and longer).  A longtime member of the Dead Poets Society, I guess.  But my membership has been accompanied by few of the standard benefits.  Somehow I write my poems on a different map from that of the mainstream literary traffic highways.  I have trouble connecting there.   The poems exist & flourish, but on a different planet.

I don't blame the world, or the poetry gatekeepers, etc.  I really believe it all stems from the fact that I died 45 years ago.  I'm engaged in a soul-struggle of some kind.  My poems try to straddle a double dimension, & hence are at cross purposes with the purely literary or the purely political or the purely anything.

Yet I try to maintain the integrity of the poem as sufficient creation, as work of art pure & simple.  I believe in that, because I feel it - every time I experience a work of art myself.

Somehow the soul-struggle, the crisis of faith, has to come to expression - yet without succumbing to the desire for an intellectual resolution (a tendentious, rather than free, expression).

This is starting to sound very pretentious.  I'm like the unprofitable servant in the parable (I forget which one) - stuck between two paths (spiritual & worldly).  Neither here nor there.

That's how it is.  I've written a lot of poetry since 45 years ago - & it seems to be whiling away the years in an ineffectual limbo of disregard.  Not needed by anyone.  I can't explain it.  But that might change.

I'm not really worried.  There are larger issues in life.  And it shall come to pass... that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons & your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions... (Joel 2:28)

old poet geezer

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